Following discussions with the global community, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN Summit in September 2015. As one of the first of 17 goals, SDG 3 calls for countries to ensure healthy lives and promote the wellbeing of all people. Specifically, Goal 3.1 calls for the reduction of the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births by 2030 and Goal 3.2 calls for the end of preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5. Targets were set for all countries to reduce neonatal mortality to 12 per 1000 live births or lower and under-five mortality to 25 per 1000 live births or lower.
Rotary International/RFPD are committed to these goals. Through projects, RFPD contributes directly to improvements in the coverage and quality of care for mothers and children, the expansion of services to underserved areas, the provision of essential medical equipment and supplies, and the training of health care providers at both facility and community levels.
MCH services encompass maternal, prenatal, delivery and postnatal care, family planning education and other sexual and reproductive health care services. This includes the promotion of breastfeeding, child spacing and other activities that prevent, reduce and treat the effects of malnutrition among children and their mothers. It also includes support for capacity building through the sponsoring of vocational training teams to enable improvements of service provision in developing countries. In certain populations and contexts, MCH may also include the repair of fistula and the prevention of female genital mutilation/ cutting/(FGM/C).
RFPD efforts in MCH are consistent with international best practices in health care and human rights. All medical supplies, family planning commodities and equipment used receive the approval of the responsible national regulatory systems. Project activities are conducted in cooperation with national authorities and supported by local Rotary clubs. Sponsors consult regularly with communities to ensure that the proposed services are consistent with local needs.
Monitoring and evaluation are critical for the success of this approach. In support of accountability, RFPD works with national health information systems (NHIS) to document the coverage, equity and quality of services provided. The Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance Response (MPDRS) and Obstetric Quality Assurance (OQA) methodologies are implemented to accompany the expansion of services and support the development of reliable supply chains.
Finally, RFPD pursues the sustainability of MCH investments by aligning quality services with national priorities, international and domestic resource flows, and advocacy efforts. This approach allows RFPD to ensure that national health budgets include adequate funding for comprehensive MCH services, including family planning. The engagement of local Rotary clubs and districts, as well as the international cooperation between clubs, is critical in the pursuit of sustainability and for the accountability of all stakeholders in the field of MCH.